Bolton Council has been awarded funding of over £450,000 for a project to improve integration of third country nationals into Bolton and help them to access services.
The council has been awarded funding from the European Integration Fund, with match funding of £154,000 provided by Bolton Community College, Near Us and the Bolton Literacy Trust.
A third country national is a person who has arrived in the UK from a non-EU country with a settlement visa, such as a spouse, an elderly dependent relative or the family of a refugee. They often do not use English as a primary language, and are unaware of the services and support available to them.
The project will be specifically targeted at children, young people and women who are third country nationals and will involve a number of initiatives to encourage them to integrate into Bolton and the UK.
The council will be carrying out research with third country nationals and their families to identify the barriers to them taking up opportunities and accessing services. The project will then involve working with partners and other public sector providers such as the NHS and housing associations to ensure better access for these third country nationals to the services they want to receive.
The project will also involve additional ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes for these residents as well as activities to encourage them to integrate with their community and the UK, such as cookery classes and health education.
Councillor Rosa Kay, Executive Member for HR and Diversity said: “We are delighted to have received this funding for third country nationals and believe that this is an excellent opportunity for developing long-term arrangements for the integration of these residents into Bolton. We hope that the initiatives we put in place with this funding help those who have newly arrived in Bolton to improve their language skills, improve their confidence and access the services that will help them to settle in the community and in the country as a whole.”